First published in 1902, The Varieties of Religious Experience initiated the psychological study of religion, paving the way for Freud and Jung as well as for clinical and paranormal branches of psychology. Written with humour and erudition, its theories of conversion, saintliness, ecstasy and mysticism continue to provoke controversy and inquiry. The book remains the best introduction to James's thought, demonstrating his characteristic insistence upon the importance of personal experience and his almost devotional respect for the mysteries of the human mind. Richly illustrated with personal accounts of belief and possession, intoxication and near-death experience, it is of central importance not simply to an understanding of religions, but to modern psychology and psychiatric medicine. The Routledge Centenary Edition, entirely reset from the original 1902 edition, is prefaced with a specially commissioned foreword by the author's grandson, Micky James, and with new introductions from James specialists Eugene Taylor and Jeremy Carrette. It also includes a new and expanded index.
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